Catherine Booth (1829-1890), the co-founder of The Salvation Army, talks about achieving true peace, how our hearts can be made perfect, and what a Christian can learn from one of Napoleon’s soldiers.

None of our hearts are born perfect by nature, but they can be renewed to be made perfect. For this, first, a heart must be loyal to God. It should be thoroughly given to Him, irrespective of consequences. Second, a heart must be obedient. A perfect heart does not pick and choose which commandments to obey. Hearts that do so are partial, not perfect. Third, at the root of all perfect hearts, is trust. Look no further than Abraham to see a heart perfect in its trust. Abraham believed God almost to the blood of his son Isaac, and God showed Himself strong in his behalf.

Our charity must be divine and focused on the soul. Sentiments of pity and acts of generosity towards man is sometimes done all without a spark of divinity in one’s heart. Or worse, it may be simply done to merit one’s own eternal life. Those are examples of nothing but false charity; they begin in self and end on earth. Are we more concerned about relieving temporal distress, in others and in us, than we are about feeding famished souls? Divine charity, such as when Christ fed both the spirit and the hunger of His followers, realizes the value of looking after the soul.

Peace is the universal want of man, but true peace is not simply a state of mere quietness or insensibility. True peace only arises out of a reconciliation with God. Where there is sin, there is conflict and misery. God Himself cannot give peace to a soul holding on to sin. But when one confesses and forsakes their sins and casts their guilty soul on Jesus, then He will give that soul true, divine peace. It will abide forever.

It is said that one of Napoleon’s men, while being operated on for the extraction of a bullet, exclaimed, “Cut a little deeper, and you will find my general’s name.” Napoleon’s name was engraved on that soldier’s heart. As God’s soldiers, the image and glory of Christ must be engraved on our hearts as well. It is what Jesus Christ demands of us. We must be thoroughly committed to His side; there can be no neutrals in spiritual warfare.

Here is great encouragement for those of us who suffer from doubt. Faith, as it is described in the Scriptures, is a voluntary thing. I have known sincere and honest souls whose minds are tormented with doubt, but whose hearts have still inquired about God’s love and truth. I have more sympathy towards them than with those who would profess all and do nothing. God believes in man’s honesty and sincerity. If you are sincere in your heart, He will not abandon you.

Women assume the role of president at prestigious Christian colleges around the country. by Retta Blaney
With a sense that they have been called, and with an appreciation for the groundbreaking role they are assuming, women have been taking over the leadership of Christian colleges and universities in slowly increasing numbers. Religious schools still lag far behind secular institutions in the appointing of female presidents, but the ceiling has been broken in schools across the country that were established in the holiness tradition.
“The idea has been that only one population, gender or ethnicity makes all the decisions,” said Deana L. Porterfield, who in 2014 became the first female president of Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, N.Y. “We’re better when we’re diverse. I do believe it’s what God’s calling us to do. Full representation is important if you really believe all are made in the image of God.”
While being the first woman president is an hono..

We are excited to share with you about our upcoming Camp Gotta Crop!

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We have an entire webpage dedicated to the event.  You can either click on the above poster or head up to the sidebar on this page and click on “Camp Gotta Crop”. You will find the Newsletter, forms to be filled out and more information as we get closer to the event.

We always have such an incredible time together and we know this year is not going to be any different!

Christmas time in The Salvation Army is a very busy time. With gift distributions, food pantries, Christmas programs and visitations around the community, there are many ways to give back.  Here are two examples of activities through local Community Care Ministries.

In Citrus County, the littlest CCM volunteers were out spreading joy and giving out teddy bears to local nursing home residents. At one home the employees gave out the NERF guns and let us participate in the fun with their residents. What a great idea!

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The Salvation Army Fort Lauderdale Community Care Ministry, led by Ms. Claire Atkinson, visited and distributed gifts to 2055 residents of 20 institutions. 20 meetings were held, 96 volunteers and 5 officers participated, giving a total of 186 hours of ministry. The Corps Band was also active in this ministry and brought Christmas cheer to 400 patients of 3 nursing homes, as they played Christmas Carols. The patients, staff and volunteers joined in singing, as we celebrated the joy of the Season. Our day ended with the great privilege of standing with the band around the bedside of a retired officer, singing Christmas Carols. We are so thankful to our corps members and band for their ministry! Special thanks to Ms. Claire Atkinson for her leadership and commitment to the Community Care Ministry.

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Mary…what a role she has in the Christmas story!

 “To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.” Luke 1:27-31 KJV

If she had chosen to stay in her state of fear as the angel spoke to her, it is likely the story would be different.

She was just a girl…but she believed and surrendered her life to God’s will. Through reliance and trust, Jesus came into the world. I imagine she did not know what was in store for Him, but she must have had a sense, every time she held Him, that He was special. Not just special the way many moms’ feel about their own kids, but truly special to the world.

In Francesca Battistelli’s song “You’re Here”, you are placed in Mary’s circumstances as she reflects on Baby Jesus and His profound purpose. The song paints a beautiful image of a mother’s love for her child, while also looking to the future joy Jesus will bring to our world.

“And they (the shepherds) came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:16-19 KJV

As you enjoy the song, take time to reflect on how Jesus coming into your life has changed you.

First appeared on our devotional blog on December 1, 2011:

Christmas Bells
written by: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”*

During the Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was stricken with the loss of his wife, Fanny, and his son, Charles who chose to go to battle without his father’s permission. Charles was severely wounded a year after Fanny’s death.  It was a dark time in Henry’s life and during the first Christmas after Fanny’s death, Longfellow wrote,

“How inexpressibly sad are all holidays.” A year after the incident, he wrote, “I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace.” Finally, on Christmas Day of 1864, he wrote the words of the poem, Christmas Bells. The re-election of Abraham Lincoln or the possible end of the terrible war may have been the occasion for the poem.**

A few years ago, the band Casting Crowns recorded the now popular Christmas carol, I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day, which is based on Longfellow’s poem. The lead singer of the band, Mark Hall, found the story behind the poem and was struck by the sadness and the hope portrayed in the poem. He knew they must record the song.

During this Advent season, you may be dealing with tragedy – loss of family, struggles finding a job, illness…  Peace seems a futile dream, a concept that no longer can be grasped.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
Luke 2: 8-15

We can find peace in the Messiah, Christ Jesus.  He came to this earth to be amongst us, to build relationships with each of us.  We can find the peace to move forward and the hope to take each step knowing there will be brighter days.

Christmas Challenge:

Take the time today to read through the Scripture passage in Luke. Imagine being in the shepherds’ place, being visited by God’s angel – His messenger of hope.  Journal the verses and your thoughts to bring yourself into the Christmas story.

Once you have meditated on this passage, listen to  I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day sung by Casting Crowns. Be Blessed this Christmas Season!


* Written during the American Civil war, the above poem can be found in:

  • Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Complete Poetical Works of Longfellow.Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1893.
  • Stevenson, Burton Egbert , ed. The Home Book of Verse for Young Folks. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1915

** Quoted from http://www.whatsaiththescripture.com/Fellowship/Edit_I.Heard.the.Bells.html

We are so thankful for our veterans! As we prepare Christmas visits to VA hospitals around Florida, here’s a reminder of how The Salvation Army celebrated our vets on Veterans Day this year.

Daytona Beach

The Salvation Army of East Volusia & Flagler Counties was very active in several events throughout the two counties.  We participated in events celebrating our Veterans in Flagler Town Park, Daytona State College, Edgewater Library as well as the Deland Veterans Day Parade.  We are blessed to have the area’s only “Supportive Services for Veteran Families” (SSVF) Program whereby we are able to assist Veterans who are at risk of homelessness and to help those who are chronically homeless.  During these events we were not only able to celebrate these brave men and women who deserve so much, we were also able to screen many for services.  We received much praise, appreciation and thanks for the presence of The Salvation Army and the availability of the SSVF Program for Veterans. veteran day 2014 005VDay Ceremony 11-2014

 

Gainesville

Our canteen went out to an apartment complex with five UF Students serving hot dogs and drinks. We served approx. 130 men, women and children.

Leesburg

Lt. Matt Hedgren was invited on Sunday Night to be a part of The Veterans Association meeting in downtown Bushnell, FL(The location of our service center). This was an outdoor meeting in front of city hall and celebrated all the different branches of the military.   He opened their meeting in prayer and thanked the veterans for their service. They had about a 12 piece band of guitars, drums, and singers and the program consisted of patriotic songs and readings and honored each specific veteran and their branch of service.

Orlando

On Friday, November 7, 2014, The Salvation Army – Orlando Metropolitan Area Command was invited to participate in the 4th Annual Veterans Day Celebration. The event was held at the Ruby Ball Amphitheater in Winter Park, Florida and honored a slew of remarkable veterans including those from the Army, Navy and Air Force. On hand to feed and converse with the attendees was The Salvation Army of Orlando who served Krispy Kreme doughnuts from the Army’s state-of-the-art mobile feeding unit. Krispy Kreme donated over 20 dozen doughnuts to The Salvation Army to be served to all veterans.

In addition to several musical selections, the event also featured a motivational speech from Lieutenant Charles Nadd of the United States Army, a salute to all patriots, and the planting of the Veterans Memorial Oak Tree in front of the amphitheater. There to represent The Salvation Army of Orlando was Major Tim Williford along with volunteers Brian Smith, Bill Sweet and Susan Williams.

Pensacola

Pensacola Celebrated the veterans by giving free coffee and donuts which were made out the canteen from scratch. We did this on Friday at the building and we look forward to serving at next year at the Veterans Day Parade.

Tampa

The Salvation Army in Tampa participated in a very large event called Operation Reveille. It was sponsored collaboratively by the City, County, Homeless Initiative, Public, Private, and Non-Profit organizations. The event was set up to house 50 homeless veterans within the one day process. The veterans came to the Port of Tampa, where a process was set up for them to complete necessary forms, be screened, and eventually end up with the key to a fully furnished apartment. The event was attended by the Mayor, County Administrator, County Commissioners, and many other dignitaries.

The Salvation Army was well represented with a Mobile Canteen, Shower Unit Truck from EDS, the ARC trucks delivering furniture to the apartments used to house veterans, and accepting the overflow of veterans who did not obtain housing during the event.

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West Volusia

The soldiers of West Volusia corps marched on the city’s parade and gave away free donuts and coffee to all the public from the canteen. The corps was also nominated by the public and received the most votes in our coffee and donut/cookies give away as their most favorite charity. To God be the Glory!

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Panama City Corps had their annual luncheon, themed around David’s prayer found in Psalm 51, Verse 7: “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.” The main message they wanted for people to take was about the need we all have to be clean and pure before the Lord and clothes ourselves with love. The room was decorated with “Laundry” items. A washing machine, old time scrubbing board, laundry baskets, piles of laundry, a clothing line with drying clothes, ironing board with iron, hangers and clothes pins. Air Fresheners (“Clean Linen” Fragrance) were used around the room to enhance the ambience. Tables were also decorated with “Laundry Items”. Small laundry baskets with small pieces of clothing (doll clothes) highlighted the centerpieces. Napkins were cut and folded as t-shirts and, as a gift for attendees, every seat had a small bag of laundry detergent with a scrub brush.

 

In the Fall, the Home League in Fort Lauderdale had a great Educational and Fellowship time when Majors Lucy and Luis Viera prepared a Coffee Shop Program. A coffee history video was shown and the room was converted into a fancy coffee shop. The office staff served the ladies and took coffee orders, which included eleven different coffee flavors from different countries.

  

We are excited that Camp Gotta Crop is coming in February!  Registration has closed and we have over 225 women coming together to enjoy cropping, fun, and fellowship!

Details will come soon for attendees!

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